The Drama Continues!!

by Spencer

For the next couple weeks, we’ll have an additional guest, Richard, left, of New York City. The plan is simple-ish: He’ll meet us in Mpulungu, Zambia, where we’ll all catch the ferry across Lake Tanganyika to Tanzania. We’d then cycle for two weeks, up from northern Tanzania, through Burundi, to Kigali in Rwanda. But of course, nothing can go according to plan! The airline has lost his bicycle!

The ferry only leaves once every two weeks. There are no flights. The bus takes twice as long. Will Richard get his bicycle in time to make the ferry? Will he too end up hospitalized? Will someone zip down one of Burundi’s famed mountains into an oncoming truck??? Stay tuned! The adventure continues!

Speaking of, in Burundi they drive on the right side of the road, right? Anyone know?

Once a Hospitalization, Twice a Hospitalization

by Spencer

An adventure! It’s often sought, rarely found, but here in the heart of Africa (surprise surprise) we have found one!!

Last week, Ben’s mother (code name: Red Eagle) descended onto Lusaka with the intention of cycling some 1000 kilometers with Ben through Malawi. I was then going to cycle up the Great North Road by myself and meet Ben in Kigoma, Tanzania. Unfortunately, 200 clicks out of Lusaka, she took a tumble, fracturing her clavicle and scapula, plus incurring a concussion, resulting in three days at one of Lusaka’s finer hospitals.

In many ways, as is usually case, it’s a story with plenty of good news. In short time, a truck driver found them and gave a ride to a nearby mission hospital. A safari operator picked up the bicycles. An ambulance happened to be going from the hospital back to Lusaka. (Sad back-story there: they shared the ambulance with an injured pregnant woman and the man who was responsible for beating her to that condition.) Though not ideal, we share the experience of Zambia’s healthcare system and the interesting stories behind the people who make it work. Adventure!

Into The Heart

by Spencer

Bicycles are special items. If you’re taking one on a plane, you’re delivered to a special line where the wait is especially long. So you wait. One dog gets boxed. And another. Forty minutes later, I’m at the ticketing counter (finally) to be informed that no United will not honor South African Airways bicycle policy as we’re at a United ticketing desk and they’re going to charge us $200 per bicycle, we can’t do anything about it and it doesn’t matter what South African Airways said. ****.
The months to follow will not be PG. There will be ******* **** experiences week in and week out for months. Stepping on the plane, that became startling apparent. I did a rethink. I signed up for this? Why? Is too late to back out?
I’m already more sleep deprived, anxious and exhausted than at any time in my life. I forgot necessary equipment in Wisconsin. Some equipment I need and just didn’t have the time to buy.
There are so many things to worry about, so many unknowns. Is there a bridge at that border crossing? Will I get robbed and loose necessary equipment? Am I physically capable of biking thousands of miles?
But at this point, there is no time for regrets. The journey has begun. We’re sitting on tarmac in Dakar. People speaking French wearing bright green “security” vests move up and down the aisles. Passengers deplane, more get on. It’s an interminable blur, my body fighting the flipbook jump through a dozen time zones as we wait wait wait wait seemingly forever. Cabin doors close and two flight attendants in parallel aerosol spray the whole cabin, passengers included. Again, but zesty fresh scented, we’re airborne, crossing the equator to meet a new day in South Africa.